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Notice to Readers: National Child Passenger Safety Week, February 12--18, 2005

Each day during 2003, an average of six children aged <15 years were killed and another 694 were injured in motor vehicle crashes, which are a leading cause of death and disability for children in the United States (1,2). This year's theme for National Child Passenger Safety Week, February 12--18, 2005, will highlight the importance of booster seat use.

Recent findings suggest that children aged 4--7 years who use belt-positioning booster seats are 59% less likely to be injured in a motor-vehicle crash, compared with their counterparts using adult safety belts (3). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and CDC recommend the use of booster seats for children who weigh at least 40 pounds, are aged 4--8 years, and are less than 4 feet 9 inches tall (4). In a recent national telephone survey conducted by NHTSA, only 21% of children aged 4--8 years used booster seats at least occasionally (5). Although all states have enacted legislation requiring child passenger restraints for infants and toddlers, only 22 states and the District of Columbia have enacted booster seat laws, the majority of which do not cover all children who should be in booster seats (6).

Information about child passenger safety and Child Passenger Safety Week activities is available from NHTSA, Office of Communications and Outreach, 400 Seventh St., SW, NTS-21, Washington, DC 20590; telephone 202-366-9742; fax 202-366-6916; and at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov, and http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc.

References

  1. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic safety facts 2003: children. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; 2004. Available at http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/TSF2003/809762.pdf.
  2. CDC. Ten leading causes of death, United States, 2001. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2004. Available at http://webapp.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/leadcaus.html.
  3. Durbin DR, Elliott MR, Winston FK. Belt-positioning booster seats and reduction in risk of injury among children in vehicle crashes. JAMA 2003;289:2835--40.
  4. CDC. National Child Passenger Safety Week---February 14--20, 1999. MMWR 1999;48:83--4.
  5. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic safety facts traffic tech. No. 294. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; September 2004.
    Available at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/traffic_tech/2004/TrafficTech294/index.html.
  6. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. Child passenger safety. Washington, DC: Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety; November 2004. Available at http://www.saferoads.org/issues/fs-boosterseat.htm.

Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


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